Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Tone

By William Faulkner

Tone

Morbid irony

At times this book is funny, other times it’s just plain sick, still other times it’s sad, and often it’s a combination of all three. Just think about Vardaman confusing his mother for a fish in the shortest section of the entire novel: "My mother is a fish." Humorous in its brevity, poignant in its rendering of a child’s thought-process, and of course incredibly sad. When Addie’s coffin ends up in the river, we can’t help but smirk – morbidly, of course – at the thought of Vardaman’s interpretation.

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